Richard Seager for Mayor and Council of the Dunedin City Council (DCC)
Some issues with the software here at the moment. I don't want to have to redo everything so first new update will probably be tomorrow, Saturday 21st September.
My focus is climate change adaption & resilience with a focus on small business, local farming and the finances of the DCC which look to me to be in a pretty unhealthy state;
for a more independent Local Government
Refinance the DCC Group debt down to 0% or better interest rates (currently available on market).
Mothball any underperforming assets until such time as the population base supports them.
No to the council financed bridge to the harbourside. Yes to support for private operators in this location who can decide whether to take the risks involved.
Negotiation with central government on such items as roads, rail and other local assets not necessarily owned by local government.
Move the hospital build to a more accessible and secure (against sea level rise risk) location.
Increase Public Transport and take back ownership from private operators.
Increase the cycling infrastructure to the standard seen in the Netherlands or Copenhagen.
Reduce the use of cars, currently the highest in the world.
Coastal resilience, pull back where needed, build where needed but don't overspend on a coast where the sea level will be rising for centuries to come.
Community resilience, housing, living wage (which is nevertheless somewhat low) and encourage democratic involvement.
I suggest that even if you don't support me that you should not vote David Benson-Pope, Chris Staynes and Aaron Hawkins back to council. The city needs a vibrant democracy as we move forward towards a future that has many risks and in my view these three have clearly shown an inability to operate in such a democratic environment. They've also been there too long (Benson-Pope and Staynes) or are inexperienced (Hawkins who went straight from University to Council). They're also a 'team' and are making poor decisions (i.e. Harbourside, five star hotels).
A council led by me will also focus on other cities in the Pacific Rim rather than just Shanghai, and building relationships with these places. I have strong connections to Australia and elsewhere so this will definitely be part of my agenda. I will also focus on building better relationships with our immediate neighbours, Southland (the most underrated province in New Zealand) and Canterbury.
A song for Jules Radich, who referenced Nelson Mandela on his OAR interview.
The South African Embassy in Trafalgar square always used to have people protesting outside it back in the 80s due mostly to Mandela's popularity in left wing circles and the South Africa apartheid governments intransigence on his release. It was far more political in Europe back in the 80s, feminism, workers rights and racism were the main issues that I remember. As well as the poll tax riots and CND protests outside the American military bases. Thatcher, and much of the right of course didn't take too much to Mandela until after apartheid collapsed. If they had of, such songs as this one would never have needed to have been.
I wasn't asked who my real life hero was at Opoho (Phillip tended to miss some questions of all of us on occasion). I wasn't even sure who I was going to say at the time as I don't really believe in 'heros' as such but it probably would have been Chomsky for being so on song for so long despite the flak that he's had to put up with over the years. My wife certainly expected that was who I was going to mention and he was first to mind. Others might have been Magdalen Berns who died only a few days ago or the Suffragettes who were sometimes rather novel in their protest methods. But my focus changes often and I think 'respect' might have been a better question rather than 'hero'. Michael Joseph Savage and John A. Lee would be two from New Zealand a social reformer from Melbourne and a radical firebrand from Otago.... One remembered with fondness and the other somewhat forgotten despite the fact that the policies of Savage were often actually Lee's. But left wing politics these days is very much an identity parade. I can't even.
The fire today on Signal hill was arson by most accounts. There was much wind and sun today, so it did take off. Later tonight at Waitati there seemed much support for harnessing these two forces of nature, rather than just releasing them.
And as Peter from Waitati said tonight, we're one people now, no matter where we originally came or come from. Climate change is something that we can only do together in as he said 'the same waka'. After 180 or more years together it would be hard to separate us anyway. And we should not try to. I can remember being quite upset when Eva Rickard died, and I never went on a march with her. But I certainly grew up with her, and both of us were/are from the Waikato. Plus who is we exactly? We have mosques and temples as well as churches and maraes these days.
Chris Morris and Tim Miller of the ODT rate the candidates performance in council. Some conflict indicated in Jim O'Malley being on the outer a little despite 'similar views'. I find Jim a hell of a lot easier to get along with than Aaron I have to say, where the reference to “Also guilty of a smug streak or snide comment at times” and “Can rub some of his colleagues up the wrong way” probably says all you need to know about Aaron. Also recent tweets of his are problematic and should be enough for most of his support base to rethink their support. So maybe it's time for David Benson-Pope to go too.
More interesting discussion. I must admit that I don't really like the format of these meetings, I prefer combat rather than talking oneself up.
There were 15 mayoral candidates at this one. The 14 official ones and one of the comperes (a fan of waging war on the ocean and climate change believers). There was also Stuart from GNS who asked a question at the end of all of us that I should have thrown back at him. I need to wake up, start treating these guys as they do me, the enemy.
Each meeting I'm reordering who one can work with and who one cannot work with. In reality there's only a few in the latter group and it does not include Vandervis. Finn Campbell is also ok and he should be on council as 'youth' vote.
I stumbled a few times but was told I was better as it went on. I stated the truth, that you cannot fight sea level rise. I still need to work on confidence.
Clare Curran was there. I said hello but shouldn't have bothered. As above.
Well it's been a little busier over the last week and I've not really kept up with this blog in that time. There have been some more interviews in the ODT and I have a much clearer idea of the candidates due to the University union organised 'ask the candidates' meeting. I don't know who Aaron Hawkins really is still though, his campaign is formulaic and as the Green Party is in a bit of a mess recently over gender issues and feminism this is also likely to be causing him issues. In truth Jim O'Malley seems the best of the other 13 candidates. Some I think should drop out and some should think about it. Three of the five women candidates are fairly firmly in right leaning territory. One of them is a Me candidate. Mandy Mayhem-Bullock the only one who's not but I'm not sure how she'll go as she presents as somewhat 'alternative'. We kind of know each other a little which I didn't realize before Thursday, but I wont' say how. There's also a skew to the right in the male candidates. Jules Radich seems to be aiming somewhat for a Trumpian role. Vandervis is after free media space in the newspaper the next day by making comments that he knows will be controversial but is unlikely to hold to himself. Finn Campbell seems lost, except to Harlene Hayne.
My first 'event'. I was probably harder on myself than anyone else. But even in hindsight I think I performed reasonably poorly. But some of that was due to not knowing the lay of the land.
I've also been involved in some Twitter stoushes with Barbour-Evans and Hawkins. Both times on the gender issue. Barbour-Evans had some rude and problematic cavalry and Hawkins gave me the impression that he was rooted to party ideology. Neither really tried to press the debate, figure that's because there be 'illogical world'.
Carmen Houlahan, Finn Campbell & Scout Barbour-Evans.
As far as climate change goes, and with these video interviews to hand, it is clear that they're all out of their depth. Finn may be able to be redeemed once he realizes that 'with friends like that who needs...” and once he's actually taken an interest in the topic rather than the soundbytes. But Barbour-Evans and Houlahan have other foci (me politics and development respectively). I'm not absolutely certain that they could not be bought around to the problems, but caution would be absolutely necessary if they were elected to council. None are reasonable as mayoral candidates.
Interesting one. Vandervis is right about a few things, the emails really don't read to me as abusive (they were released on FYI.org.nz) and as per the rumours that I'd heard he does drive a Nissan Leaf (probably the most popular electric car in NZ). But on the other hand he imagines being able to save South Dunedin with Dutch style pumping and other infrastructure, such as dykes or sea walls I guess. He's also very much anti-cycle. He was also a little sexist at one stage, not in pointing out that all three of the main council staff that he deals with are women but in being critical of the number of women in council employment in total. So he's a mixed bag, and as Mayor we would lose our cycle paths. So please don't vote him in as Mayor. As councilor I think that it would be useful to have his focus there because at the very least he would keep some a bit more honest. Some way needs to be thought of to involve him in council productively though. His point about debt is a little concerning (he claims a billion dollars) and I will need to have a closer look at Assets and Liabilities as publicly available over the next week. If Dunedin is paying 4.6% for this debt then it's time to get rid of the current loans as interest rates are much better than that right now.
Christine Garey was in conflict with Lee Vandervis in regards to the Council issues while at the same time acknowledging that she'd been a little rude in publicly shaming council staff in the past (while on Peninsula board). She was pro the 'Sydney Opera House' development on the Harbour including the bridge while at the same time stating that sea level rise (SLR) risk had been accounted for. Sure, if you take the IPCC from 2014 at their word but this did not allow for any Antarctic ice loss and anyway a metre of SLR which is what IPCC basically states will happen by 2100 will be very problematic for this development. If you read Hansen instead of IPCC well then it will be under water before the middle of the century. So for that reason and others I think that Christine Garey is wrong here. She states that the development is important to bring in private investment to that area. That's the key focus here it seems to me. Carmen Houlahan is similar in having a focus on freeing up land for developers but she would likely be more inclined to listen to the evidence regarding climate change impacts. So in my view Christine Garey should not be voted on to council.
Bob Barlin, well where do you start? Currently taxi driving (tourist oriented it seems) he seemed at the beginning to be critical of Council expenditure and had Lee Vandervis nodding in agreement. I was expecting full climate denial, but there was only a little along the lines of 'if right'. But then we had a spiel about strategic assets and their susceptibility to SLR risk. He mentioned the airport and the Hillside engineering workshop, both maybe at a metre or less above sea level. He stated that he was previously in the army up to the level of Major and had been to many hotspots around the world. He's the type of guy you'd put into manage assets and errr people if SLR became an issue. He would be good to have around in such an event, but on council? That could be a little risky for democracy in my view. He also does not seem to know why he's running and considering that he is unsure that there would be any sea level rise it is unlikely he'd consider those impacts if left to himself. I think you can get the gist of why he is running if you just think about it a little. It was quite warm in Dunedin today by the way. Not NZ's hotspot I'm sure but has anyone told the army? Whose army do I hear you say?
Who else has been airlifted in?
The interviews were a little more 'tetchy' than ours were last week and this was expected.
Just for reference, women in my writing are 'adult human females'. I am not a fan of gender politics or the idea that the term 'women' is inclusive of anyone born male.
I was interviewed for this Otago Daily Times (ODT) feature last Friday afternoon. Generally I'm happy enough with it, I'm still showing some signs of nervousness in the video interview and I've just sent an email to the journalist correcting the megatonnes quoted in the piece to gigatonnes which is the word that I would have used.
The idea of a wall in Carmen Houlahan's interview which is above mine in the print edition of the ODT is a very unrealistic one. If you're concerned about the expenses of routing an arterial road behind Dunedin at maybe 60 metres above sea level* then I would point out that the costs of building a wall that will fail by 2100 at the latest (going by IPCC reports – pdf link) is going to both cost more and be less useful (by far). Building climate change resilience into Dunedin City does not include any more sea walls (there is a small one that has already failed on occasion at St Clair). Personally I think such a wall would fail long before 2100 and even if it (unlikely as it is) doesn't fail by then South Dunedin's problems don't start and end at the beach.
Many thanks to the ODT, this is a very generous focus for those of us who are new to this, under-resourced or both. I'm not sure that it's done so well elsewhere.
* So very secure to future Sea Level rise albeit if we keep on as now then there is 70 or 80 metres of Sea Level Rise potential in melting the ice caps
I was on OAR FM alongside Andrew Whiley and Aaron Hawkins.
I managed to talk cycling quite a lot which pleased me. I also mentioned light rail and a gondola but it was later mentioned that this could be misunderstood as a Venice style gondola when in fact I meant this type of gondola...
I was happy with this show, both Andrew and Aaron were good to be interviewed alongside although of course I disagree with Andrew's views on the exploitation of gas off the Otago coast. I don't think that there's much I disagree with Aaron on except for woodchips which may be renewable but are very much still CO2 producing (storing CO2 in wood is a good idea, but you know burning it kind of defeats that purpose).